Trans woman wins Miss Portugal pageant
A transgender woman has been named Miss Portugal for the first time in the history of the national beauty pageant. Marina Machete, a biological male, was crowned during a ceremony in the southeastern city of Borba on Thursday.
Machete is 28 years old and worked as a flight attendant for five years. She previously won the Miss Palmela competition.
“Proud to be the first trans woman to compete for the Miss Universe Portugal title!” Machete wrote on Instagram before the final.
“For many years I wasn’t eligible to compete and now it’s such an honor to be a part of this incredible group of candidates!”
Not everyone in Portugal was happy about Machete’s victory. “When I read this news, I initially thought it was a joke,” Rui Paulo Sousa, a member of Portugal’s parliament, wrote on Facebook. “It is undoubtedly a sad day for those young women who dreamed about [winning] the female beauty pageant.”
Machete will represent Portugal in the Miss Universe contest in El Salvador next month. The competition will feature another transgender woman, Miss Netherlands Rikkie Kolle.
Biological males competing in beauty pageants traditionally reserved for women remains a hot-button issue in several countries. In July, the organizers of Miss Italy said they would ban transgender individuals. “Since it was founded, my contest has stipulated in its regulations [that contestants] must be a woman from birth,” the competition’s official patron, Patrizia Mirigliani, said in a radio interview, as quoted by CNN.